In case you missed it, George Clooney married the world’s most famous human rights lawyer, Amal Alamuddin, in Venice this weekend. But LOL, what am I saying? You couldn’t have missed it if you tried, because boy did they make sure EVERYONE knew about it! Venice may be, according to Clooney, “the most romantic city in the world”, but conveniently enough, with its limited transportation options, it’s also one of the most open. As onlookers and press alike gathered on the bridges and quays, the open-top water taxis made sure everyone had front row seats, and short of saying “I do” on a floating platform in the middle of the Grand Canal they could not have catered any harder to the eyes of the world that they knew were watching.
And what a show we were given. When the world’s most eligible bachelor hangs up his boots, he does it in grand style, and he doesn’t pass up the opportunity to promote his tequila brand either. His best man and Casamigos business partner Rande Gerber was just short of wearing a branded t-shirt under his dinner jacket, and they made sure that celebratory shots of said tequila (50 cases of which Gerber packed onto his private jet) were passed out to the assembled crowds.
Asides from that crass detail though, it was all in the best possible taste. It’s an over-used phrase, but if “movie star glamour” implies a lifestyle that is out of reach for us mere mortals, then this wedding was movie star glamour all the way. Not many of us would be accommodated in shutting down a city centre, but I suspect the tourist board were more than happy to oblige in return for the kind of coverage the city has gotten. Venice looked even more glamourous dotted with beautiful celebrities speeding around in flotillas like stars in a James Bond movie. Throw in A&G monograms on flags and hat boxes, lashings of couture, the seven star Aman resort, and a wedding party who were willing players in a paparazzi and tourist friendly spectacle and you had a production that went beyond wedding planning and was on the verge of movie making.
“It is a privilege and a pleasure for me to dress him for this occasion, in which he stars in the most important role – that of the groom.”
So said Georgio Armani of designing George’s wedding tux, and I wonder if he didn’t just inadvertently give us the most honest perspective of this wedding that we’re likely to hear? Because with all that glamour came the distinct feeling that this was designed to be a spectacle, the most public celebrity wedding imaginable. And coming so soon after Brad and Angelina pulled off their secret wedding, it begs the simple question… Why? Why does a man who owns a palatial property on Lake Como, and who has the means to secure his privacy opt instead to create a media circus in the middle of Venice? Because while it all looks very chic in the photos, the videos tell a noisier, more chaotic story.
It makes the cynic in me suspect that there was more to this wedding than meets the eye. Clearly it was conceived to appeal to his fan base, tailor made to have women swooning at the sight of gorgeous George speeding down the canals of Venice in a tux and into the arms of the woman who’s stolen his heart; it’s straight out of a movie that those women would pay to see, only now they don’t have to. And for those of us who have been side-eying this relationship since they announced their engagement in April, the uncharacteristically public way that their romance has played out makes this a fitting finale to a very showy courtship, but it still has me scratching my head and wondering how George Clooney’s wedding ended up having more in common with that Kardashian fiasko than anything else.
“I would like to say to my bride-to-be, Amal, that I love you very much and I can’t wait to be your husband…”
he told her from the stage at a recent gala, to the sound of an audible gasp from a woman in the audience who found it all too much, and an audible WTF? from gossip aficionados who found it too much in a different kind of way. A certain demographic will argue that he’s just finally been swept off his feet by true love, that like all committed bachelors he simply needed to find the right woman, though you have wonder if they’d be so smug about their Georgie had “the right woman” turned out to be another 25 year old cocktail waitress?
Because to me, from the moment they confirmed their relationship with a People magazine spread of staged photos from their first holiday together, Clooney has seemed less like a man giddy in love and more like a man who didn’t like what they were saying and decided to change the conversation. When I wrote about their engagement at the time, I suspected that Tina Fey’s crack about his love life at the Golden Globes had hit a nerve with him, and miraculously, less than one year later, we find him happily married to an intelligent and accomplished woman, having perhaps been swept off his feet just in time to save him from becoming a laughing stock among his peers. It’s not that I don’t buy it, as such, it’s just that I find it all a bit… convenient.
Because what a woman she is. Educated and smart, elegant and stylish, he couldn’t have cast a more suitable person to play the beautiful bride to his dashing groom. Not all busy, professional women would take to the role as effortlessly as Amal has, but as she sashayed around Venice in a series of perfect designer outfits, beaming and waving to the press and cheering fans, it was clear that she had taken to it like a gondola to water. Some people are just destined (and dressed) for the kind of fame that international law simply does not beget, but I hope she doesn’t become seduced by the empty fame of being a successful man’s arm candy. When Clooney quipped to Variety last month that he was “marrying up” it was as charmingly self-deprecating as it was astute, so we are clearly meant to believe that her successful career was part of the attraction for him.
Since becoming engaged to George Clooney, Amal has been offered a position on a UN inquiry panel investigating war crimes in Gaza, which she turned down citing “existing commitments, including eight ongoing cases”. Hopefully that isn’t a sign that she intends to put her career on the back burner now, and hopefully her newfound fame doesn’t become a professional hindrance. It’s interesting to note, though, that the woman who had her law firm release a statement confirming her engagement (which seemed puzzling, because why were her employers commenting on her personal life?) then got Clooney’s Hollywood agent to issue the statement about the UN position (which is even more puzzling, because why is her husband’s show biz agent commenting on her professional life?).
Whether or not her career maintains the same dazzling trajectory now that she’ll be dazzling on red carpets too remains to be seen, but she made quite the fashionable splash in Venice. Arriving on Friday in a boldly striped, midi-length Dolce & Gabanna dress, she looked more like a movie star than her husband-to-be. In four short days her amazing blow-dries have become the envy of every woman, and the Stella McCartney palazzo pant suit and wide brimmed hat she wore to the civil ceremony on Monday have achieved legendary status.
For the rehearsal dinner she wore McQueen, short at the front, graduating into a spectacular but impractical train, and for their post-wedding brunch she opted for Giambattista Valli couture – a gorgeous dress, custom made and almost perfect for the occassion, but I would have preferred this to be knee length, because a) the front is dangerously short for a brunch and b) I think in any one weekend there is only room for one mullet hemline.
For the main event she kept it classic in a chantilly lace, off-the-shoulder, full skirted Oscar de la Renta, and I suppose when your wedding dress is destined to have historical significance you have your fashion fun before and after, and she definitely did, making the most of the pre and post-wedding events and changing into a spangly fringed, beaded Oscar dress (inset) for the reception.
Vogue have breathlessly detailed her dress fitting here, which now that I think of it lends another unfortunate whiff of Kardashian to the whole affair. It’s 2014, George Clooney is married, and his wedding competed with a Kardashian’s for the most OTT event of the year – if you’d told me that a year ago I’d have laughed at you, and yet… here we are. It’s a brave new world, but if Amal Alamuddin is as cool as she appeared in Venice, she’s more than ready for it.